When I custom-built my first Brompton folding bike, I had the option to select the high-quality Brooks B-17 leather saddle. Having never really ridden on a Brooks saddle before, and hearing about how it is the most comfortable ride out there, I figured I might as well go for the best and see if it truly would "contour to my shape." After a grueling 12 weeks (the Raw Lacquer color tends to take a bit longer), my bike finally arrived. The Brooks saddle lived up to its reputation upon initial ride - it felt like an unforgiving plastic carnival seat. I knew it would take some time to "break-in" the saddle, so I gritted my teeth and rode on it for a while.
After about two weeks, the Brooks saddle started feeling a lot better. It had a bit of bounce to it, and my butt wasn't so bad after a long ride anymore. I borrowed Bert's Brooks Proofide Dressing to treat the leather surface. It was effective in two senses: the Brooks saddle could break in evenly, without cracking or showing seams or lines, and it became a bit more water resistant on a rainy day. If I expected this to be a long-term investment, I wanted to take good care of it.
After a few months of regular commuting, the Brooks saddle felt great. It was getting softer and springier every day. With my bike running on all cylinders, it was great timing for the Brompton U.S. Wolrld Championship race in Philadelphia. I signed up and booked my trip for the big race.
Riding a Brooks saddle around Philadelphia was great. The comfort of the leather saddle took a lot of the vibrations out of cobblestones, potholes, and construction sites. During the race, the Brooks leather seat felt amazing. A long race can cause a lot of fatigue, so it's nice to have a seat that feels great, even after a really intense ride.
After my experience in Philadelphia, I decided to get a Brooks saddle for my other bike as well. There really was no other saddle that can compare to the comfort level. With my new Brooks leather saddle, I'm still in the "breaking-in" period, so I'm again gritting my teeth and dealing with the hardened new leather feel, but I'm looking forward to the day when it softens up and I feel like I'm just cruising on air.
We have a few variations of the Brooks saddle in our store, and if you stop by (and I'm in a good mood), I can let you try my Brooks B-17 saddle and let you feel the awesome broken-in leather feel.